Posts Tagged With: Gaillac

The Hill, McCauley clans first visit

My family have been so supportive and enthusiastic about our move to France and have loved sharing our French Adventure via our blog every step of the way. Last week it was time for some of them to come and see our French house for real.

My Mum, Sister and brother in law all flew over for a weeks holiday and as you will have seen in my last post some work, well they did offer.

Thankfully the weather obliged us and the sun most defiantly had his hat on, even if not for every moment, he was shy at the beginning of the week but had lost all his inhibitions by the end of the week and shone brightly for us and gave us all some lovely vitamin D as a gift.

Its really lovely to share our dream with family and friends, and its great when they come as it makes us take some time out from renovations to explore and enjoy all that this amazing part of France has to offer.

Here are some photo galleries of their French Adventures.

A walk in the countryside.

Wine tasting at Domaine Barreau , Julie your supposed to sip and spit and drink the lot!

A trip to Rabasten, which we hadn’t been to and turned out to be beautiful, especially the old town and the river.…/rabastens

Fun in the garden

Exploring Albi

Dinner at Au Cafe Joubert click to visit their Facebook page

Julie’s birthday breakfast

A trip to Albi Marché aux puces, the girls had lots of bargains.

A visit to Chateau Fort Mauriac, which is only minutes away from us, parts of it date back to the 11th century, we had a lovely tour in english and managed to get mum down the steepest set of steps into the terraced garden below the chateau. Well worth a visit if your in this part of France.

A game of Pétanque  in the garden the night before they went home, and Digger Dave definitely has the back for this game he beat us all.

Heres to your next visit……

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So many shutters!


Renovations are in full swing here in Fayssac, even when we have guests staying, if  they can hold a brush we give them one.

Its shutter renovation time at the moment, whilst we wait and wait and wait for someone to dig the hole for our pool, i won’t go into that right now, i will only rant and it will take ages, ill keep that for a future post.

Anyway we have over 40 things to renovate and pain, from shutters to barns doors and various other exterior bits, some are in good condition and just need sanding, filling and painting some need intensive care.

The derrière shot is my brother in law “Digger Dave” [the name came from a drunken night of me complaining about dodgy hole diggers and Dave offering to dig it for us], told you we make guests work for their keep.


The ones that don’t make it out of intensive care are chopped up for firewood, oh yes we recycle as much as possible, kev has utilised his carpentry skills to make them, saving us a wedge load of money in the process.


And we have finally decided on a colour for our shutters, which was really decided for us as its a colour match to our new windows, no romantic name I’m afraid just a Ral number, Ral 7016 to be precise but ill call it “Thunder Cloud”, mind you thats a bit dramatic, maybe “Pigeons back” thats just as bad, oh well you make up your mind either is better than Ral 7016.

And you may have noticed the wall paint in the photo below, now that does have a name “Grey frost”, so there are our exterior colours to be used liberally on anything stone, wood or metal and even guests if they stay still long engough.



Ok back to painting shutters….. Bon weekend everyone.

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Market day in Gaillac

Friday is market day in Gaillac and today as the sun wash shining and the air was warm it was much busier than normal, in fact trying to get a parking space today was interesting to say the least, there arnt that many places to park and all the ones i knew about were full, hmmm where to go, argh i remember there is a parking area at the base of the abby by the river.  Off i sped in Kev’s car and today was the day for Kev’s car, roof down music playing and thank god i had it as the roads down to the river bank car park were so narrow, with lots of twist and turns and old french people walking; very slowly in the middle of the raod as they do, you can’t beep them its rude… isn’t it???

So eventually after feeling like i had been on a fair ground ride i found the car park and a space, yes, oh and what a view, it was worth all the twists and turns and the old French people, NCP’s don’t have views like this in Londinium.



Gaillac is so beautiful i do love it and don’t come in enough, today will make up for that.

The market sprawls through the town, let me take you on a little tour.



Lets start in the main square [the old one] which has a central sunken fountain and very pretty it is too. From here the market stalls radiate out, this part of the market is mainly fruit, veg and food and very yummy it all looks.


Now theres a shell suit top to be proud of and you thought shell suits were out of fashion, nah not in France they arnt.

And the kind man is helping with her melons…..


Im not really a tomato person [even though i have 12 varieties growing in my potager at home] but wow these look so tasty.



Same goes for asparagus [i don’t like what it does to your wee] but again it looks so lovely… didn’t buy any mind you.


Arghh here is one of my favourite houses in the old square, i would love to know what lies behind that keyhole.


No market is complete without a huge pan of food, ill have one, the whole one please



I bought a little succulent plant from this stall, its sitting on the table i made near my potager, the girl [her in the background with the Sofie Ellis Bexter fringe] who served me was so polite with a big grin on her face, was probably the awful French i spoke.


There is a covered market area which is reserved for artisans, mainly ones who grow organic and bio foods and plants.

The strawberries were stunning, i tried one or two, so sweet and juicy, like real strawberries not the watery ones you get in the supermarket.


Here you go  they take great pride in their stalls, forever titivating their boxes.



A lovely eclectic mix of products all looking fabulous.



Off up to the main town square[ the new one] its had a face lift and it looks very smart, this area of the market has all your basics and essentials, kickers, bras, trusses etc


And then lets pop over the road to the main car park which is not a car park today, mores the pity.

This is my favourite part of the market i call it “Toot ville” why? well you can see for yourself lots of toot, i mean why buy a real plant when you can have on doff these stunning fake ones!!!!!


This stall is amazing, its an extendable lorry full of home bits and bobs, i mean you could spend a day on “The Generation Game” conveyor belt and still not guess everything.


Arggh yes and plastic tubs in every shade of unnatural.


I do love a bit of haberdashery though, but what: no grey linen, in sixty shades of, don’t they know the brits love it.



This last aisle is very special as its reserved for the real artisan traders


Now these men are the real deal, i love these people they look so amazing, i would love to be able to chat to them about their lives, i bet there are so many interesting stories to be told.



This man looks especially interesting, he only has one product for sale some kind of bacon roll thingy,  and i bet that linen cloth has never been washed, it probably adds to the taste, hmm think not.

So there you have it market day in Gaillac, well one of them anyway and what did i buy i hear you ask, six celery plants and they are doing fine, all tucked up in my potager and well fed and watered.

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Raindrops & Butterflies and Pussy Cats Tales…..

After a quick trip to London for work I came back to rain, rain and yes you guessed it even more rain, April is going out with more than a few showers. Mind you they do pass over quite quickly with dramatic effect.


Miel continues to amuse us all with her antics, she has discovered the storage boxes in the stables and thinks they are  great to play hide and seek in.


She has also claimed her new favourite place to sit… our playstation box her favourite programme is The Good Wife.




I made a new friend when i popped down to pick up the mail from the post box, i offered him some factor 50 but he declined.


The one thing about all the rain and sun, it has made our garden grow like crazy, we have a lovely show of irises at the moment, the flower heads are huge and they smell divine.

IMG_0640 IMG_0641 IMG_0642

All the wild flowers have attracted swarms of beautiful butterflies, i have never seen so many.


They are attracted to the array of bright colourful flowers, i do love the spring its such a fabulous season, full of promise for what lies ahead the rest of the year.


The Cow Parsley is growing knee high and the buttercups are washing the fields with a yellow haze.


The trees have all lost their blossoms now, being replaced with tiny fruits which will swell and offer up lots of tasty treats later in the summer. The wild fig trees are bursting with fruit.



What a fabulous week and what a fabulous place we live in. Lets see what May brings us.

Happy Mayday everyone.

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One man went to mow….and we went a sowing

After five weeks of no rain and stunning weather Easter Sunday was a day of rain, rain and even more rain, the garden loved it we hated it but hey we can’t complain.

Today Easter Monday started out cloudy and drab but by lunchtime the sun came out to play and after a mad dash to see if  Mr Bricolarge was open [we needed plaster for the bathroom] it was closed,  but i was lucky as Gam Vert our garden centre was open so i picked up some bits i needed, we headed out for an afternoon in the garden.

Adam, Ian’s son who has come down to plaster their bathroom volunteered to cut the grass on our 1 acre field.


Marion and i had an afternoon of sowing seeds and planting seedlings in our potagère.



And after a hard afternoons work it would be rude not to partake of a little tiffin of Rose.


And what a beautiful sunset to end the day on.


Arghh back to rain, rain, rain tomorrow, Oh well we can’t to many nice days otherwise we wouldn’t appreciate them or would we?


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A bit of this and a bit of that


This week has been a funny old week, i was in London for two days as two quick projects have come up with Lambeth and Lewisham Councils. So on Monday Lynda and I spread ourselves liberally around West Norwood visiting stores.

Monday night we had a lovely meal at The Alma with Paul, Jamie and Jackie, it was lovely to see them all and catch up on all the news, as i don’t get chance that often.

Tuesday Lynda and i dashed around Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham, dodging the rain handing out flyers.

That night i flew back home on the last flight out from Heathrow, and you know when you just want to get home things are bound to get in the way, well it was the plane which decided that it would have a technical problem just to annoy us all. The flight was put back an hour then it was going to be cancelled…. oh joy, but then at the last minute they managed to find a plane, how they find a plane i don’t know, but i didn’t care, i was just happy to be flying back to France. So eventually i got home at 1.45am and then kev was up at 4am to take the same plane back to London as he was about to start standby.

I spent most of yesterday writing up store visit notes and answering emails, but i did get a chance to do some work in “The Room Of Doom” its our spare room which although it has no ceiling, is covered in about an inch of dust and only one of the two windows is fitted, will be ready for guests to sleep in for kevs birthday in April.

Here is “The Room of Doom”

We have started to knock the plaster off the walls in the alcoves to take them back to the original stone.


Whilst i was being shaken about using the very powerful new industrial hammer drill that Marion and Ian bought us kev decided to take himself off to his workshop, hmmm whats he up to now i thought, so i popped down to find him putting up his wine rack which he bought for 12 euros at the fabulous Troc 81 store. He has been itching to put it up for weeks, he took great pride in organising all his bottles of wine, apparently the top three rows are off limits as they are expensive, just as well he told me, i wouldn’t know the difference and would have probably started at the top and worked my way down.



Miel Miaow is so inquisitive and has discovered the big wide world of the outdoors all be it only from looking through the windows, she is fasinated by anything that moves out there and can’t seem to understand why she can’t touch things through the glass. Bless her she only has to wait until April then she can go outside.



She sneaked passed me and got into out wood store the other day, i hunted everywhere for her and had to resort to Burnaby’s sniffing skills to find her, she was exploring all the chopped down trees.


Barnaby Pickles went to the hairdressers on Thursday and had a very close cut, litterally no hair left on him, but at least the mud will slide of his new sleek look.




And today “Friday” we have had all seasons in one day, a right pick n mix of weather, rain, hailstones, wind, sunshine and this amazing rainbow, the end of which is in the field at the bottom of the garden so I’m off out with my shovel to find my pot of gold, happy weekend everyone.




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A busy week


What a busy week we had…

Our dear friends Paul and James popped over to see us, flying back with Kev from London for the weekend, bless them i think they were heading for some sunshine, but unfortunatley our weather has been very similar to the UK of late, rain, rain and yes more rain. But that didn’t stop us getting out there and showing them around.

Wellies are our staple footwear at the moment and we have acumulated a range of sizes ready for any visitors.


A footpath or a mini river.



Saturday night was steak and red wine night and after a delicious meal cooked by Kev and a few bottles of the local red stuff, we face timed our friend Jacks back in London and it looks like she had already had a few bottles of the red stuff herself!!!!!



After a fabulous weekend the boys headed back to London for a detox and Kev headed for India.

I had a busy few days clearing up and decorating and then on Friday our new windows arrived.


It didn’t take us long to start knocking out the old ones, the first to go in was in Marion and Ian’s spare bedroom.



Give Kev a power tool and he can turn his hand to anything…..



Ta Dah and here it is our first window in place, we loved our original windows but they let so much cold air in so they had to go but they will be recycled as Kev is going to make a green house for me.

The dark grey wooden frames look lovely, and yes the room was so much warmer.



Frosted windows for the bathrooms.




Then on Saturday we headed for the Aveyrone to look at a antique fireplace for our kitchen.

Last monday we had visited Laurent the Mares son in laws antique showroom and fell in love with his wood burning stove, it was an origional Godin Colonial, he told us about a great website a bit like ebay called “Bon Coin” which means good corner. After a bit of searching we found a few of them and the best was the one in the Aveyrone.

Luckily the one we saw was in fabulous condition so we bought it there and then and as soon as we got home it was put in place and a fire lit.




The critters however had another relaxing week!!!!!!




What will next week bring?

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A village celebration

On the 4th January 2014 we were invited to attend the official celebrations for the completion of the renovations of the school and Marie offices and village hall.

Anyone who lives or has visited France in winter will know that small villages are ghost towns, you can go  days without seeing another human being. So it was to my surprise to see so many people at this celebration, where did they all come from? Did they come out of hibernation or were they from other villages? whatever the case it was lovely to see so many people attending the celebrations.

Our outgoing Marie Claude Barthez was in all his finery and had invited officials from all the covering bodies, we were even blessed with a visit from our senator.

The day had begun as damp grey day but at 11am precisiley  the clouds broke and the sun shone for the next few hours, I’m sure Claude had specially ordered the sunshine.



After the official cutting of the ribbon we were all ushered around the school buildings to see the handy work of the builders, and wow they had done a great job, what amazing facilities for a junior school, the very latest technology and computers for every child. The village junior school is shared between two villages Fayssac and Cestayrols, The infants is in Cestayrols.

Then after our nosey around it was off to the village hall for the speeches and oh how the speeches went on and on and on and on, luckily being in France there was plenty of wine on tap and lovely nibbles prepared by the wives of the councillors.

We met some lovely people during our nosey around the school and learned lots about the village, there used to be two cafes and bakery and a grocery store, only one cafe exists our amazing Au Cafe Joubert the other one which was opposite is now a house as is the grocery store and the bakery.

Whilst looking around the Marie buildings we saw some old photos of Fayssac and our official coat of arms


which i must say has all the important things on it like grape vines and more grape vines… perfect.

Here is a fab black and white photo of the village, not sure what year it is, just in front of the church is where the school now is and the second  large building just behind the church is our house.


This is our main street 90 years ago, just left of the car is where Au Cafe Joubert is. Its obviously summer as there are people about.


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Sunrise, Sunset

We have been so lucky in the last few weeks we have had really lovely settled weather here in Fayssac.

We have had frosty days with brilliant blue skies, we have had some foggy days and i mean pea soup fog like old London town back in Sherlock Holmes times.

We have also had some amazing sunrises and sunsets, here are a few of my favourite in the last few days.

Sunset 23rd December




Sunrise Christmas Eve





Magical foggy walk with pickle on Saturday 21st December



The fog hanging over our valley, soon burnt off by the sun.




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Barnaby Pickles Mouse Hunter

Barnaby Pickles has been having a very busy week, not only has he been helping in the garden but he has become Fayssacs number one
Mouse hunter,all the village cats have taken a vacation now he’s on the job.
As you know we have been cutting down loads of trees in our back garden, they have been chopped up and laid out to dry ready for burning. Our BP has had a wail of a time sniffing the ever growing leafy mound hunting for mice. All we have seen in is a white wagging tail sticking out from the leafy mounds.


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